Toronto, Peel to Join Stage 3 of Reopening Friday

Toronto, Peel to join Stage 3 of reopening Friday; Windsor-Essex left behind

On Wednesday, the Government of Ontario announced additional businesses and public spaces will be reopening as the province allows the City of Toronto and Peel Region to move into Stage 3 of reopening the province on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 am. Gathering limits do not apply to settings such as beaches, parks, restaurants and bars, but measures to enable physical distancing may limit capacity at any given time.

The City of Toronto said Wednesday it is preparing to reopen playgrounds, community centres and libraries, and conducting any necessary inspections.

Ford had initially blocked Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex from moving past stage 2.

The province wants to collect and examine data for at least another week before deciding whether the region can move ahead in the reopening process, Ahmed said, adding numbers for the region must fall closer to the provincial average.

Ford hinted Tuesday that the region or the harder-hit, farm-area towns of Leamington and Kingsville would remain in Stage 2.

He stressed the need to continue with physical distancing and other health measures, suggesting some may feel even in Stage 2 that everything is back to normal.

"With more reopening ... the likelihood of people coming in close contact with each other increases", Ahmed said in a news conference Wednesday morning.

Essex County Warden Gary McNamara says he understands people's frustration, but also the serious evaluation that was involved in the decision.

Epidemiologist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said of Toronto and Peel that "this is one of the first times that the case numbers in the GTA were lower than in the rest of Ontario", noting that these two areas can not "stand here in stage two forever and I think it's time to move forward".

Premier Doug Ford said, "While more restaurants, theatres and businesses can hang up their Open for Business sign, we're asking everyone to follow public health advice and act responsibly".

In a response dated July 17, and sent to CBC Windsor on July 23, Lysyk said the agreement with Switch Health will be one of many items her and her team look over as part of their COVID-19 Preparedness and Management audit that is assessing how the province spent money on pandemic-related resources.

"When you get down to the stage where you have one new case on a given day, which was the case yesterday, there's only one direction to go", said.

"More businesses and services are able to reopen thanks to the collective efforts of all Ontarians to limit the spread of the virus", said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

"While public health trends across the province are positive, we continue to closely monitor Windsor-Essex so that we can move the community into Stage 3 when the time is right".

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